Changing Face of Publishing, Anne Sexton's Prose, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

According to a net sales revenue report by the Association of American Publishers, adult hardcover book sales gained 33 percent in July. (GalleyCat)

Hiring well-known editors, offering large advances, and slating over one hundred books for publication this fall across genres and mediums, Amazon is attempting to dramatically change publishing. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, publishing giant Random House has rented out two of its floors in its midtown New York City headquarters to a Wall Street trading firm owned by Morgan Stanley. (Wall Street Journal)

With publishing industry models in flux, Salon focuses its lens on Harper Perennial, as the imprint attempts to create a brand that offers modest advances for first books with a cutting-edge design written by cool young writers such as Blake Butler, Diana Spechler, and Simon van Booy.

Despite Anne Sexton's success publishing numerous poems in the New Yorker, the magazine's fiction editors did not want her stories, which she vigorously tried to publish there and elsewhere for years. For the weekly literary blog Aboutaword, writer Liz Langemak describes encountering Sexton's prose for the first time, and reading the exchanges between Sexton and her agent: "The story is bad—a rushed, easy-metaphor, plot-driven kind of bad—and yet Sexton dedicated years to writing and marketing it, doggedly maneuvering her way through a minefield of rejections."

A new bar has opened in Los Angeles called the Writers Room. Formerly called the Back Room of Musso & Frank, the venue at one time attracted writers such as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Dorothy Parker, who each met a nearby bookstore owner there regularly for drinks. (Los Angeles Times)

If you've ever encountered anyone in the southern United States named Keats, there's a chance he is related to the famous poet. In this review of a new book by Denise Gigante, The Keats Brothers, we learn John's brother George moved to Kentucky to operate a sawmill. (New York Times)

The crime novelist P. D. James has penned a follow-up to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The new book, Death Comes to Pemberley, which is due out in November, is set six years after the conclusion of Austen's classic novel. In a recent statement, James said, "I have to apologize to Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in a murder investigation." (CBC News)